Submitted by Anna Adams
I have been deeply troubled by the recent controversy concerning Dr. Neil Anderson. However, unlike most, I am not necessarily troubled by Dr. Anderson’s words, but rather how people, students at Asbury, “Christians,” have treated the situation. I do not want to go into what Dr. Anderson said or retweeted; it was obviously offensive to some. My sadness comes from those who claimed to have wanted Dr. Anderson to be shown “grace,” yet continued to publicly humiliate him. If I am not mistaken, the Bible tells us to do the complete opposite:
“If another believer sins against you, go privately to them and point out the offense, (Matthew 18:15).”
For those who had issue with Dr. Anderson’s words, instead of condemning and shaming him, they should have gone and discussed the issue with him first. However, they instead chose to go to the news, social media, etc. As Christians, we aren’t supposed to rejoice at the faults of other Christians; we are called to rally around them and encourage them.
My second problem with the controversy is the hypocrisy. What Dr. Anderson said in the three phrases that were actually written by him was not Christ-like; there definitely could’ve been kinder words chosen; with that I am not disagreeing.
However, what is the difference between us as students using that sort of language and Dr. Anderson? Is it because he is a professor, an ordained pastor? I’ve heard some of my own friends use worse language, and I myself have used worse language. So why aren’t we protesting against ourselves? What’s the difference? Is it because he’s twice our age or because he has authority over us in the classroom? The truth is, there is no difference, especially if we both claim Christ lives in us. We all fail Christ daily, so don’t be hypocritical, Asbury. We are no better than Dr. Anderson and vice versa.
Dr. Anderson gave our class one of the most heartfelt, genuine apologies anyone could have ever given and I fully believe he would’ve done the same without all the publicity. He is not asking for pity, and he isn’t acting like a victim; he isn’t apologizing for his conservative beliefs and he isn’t backing down.
We all make mistakes, and how many times have we been publicly shamed for it? More often than not, we get away with our actions, and we receive grace from God privately.
I may have an unpopular opinion here and that is fine, but I am proud Dr. Anderson is a professor at Asbury, and more importantly I am proud that he isn’t apologizing for his beliefs regardless of the persecution. Dr. Anderson is a human just like the rest of us. He offended some people, he was publicly shamed, he apologized, and he still continues to stand up for what he believes in despite the negativity.
To me, Dr. Anderson has done our school a favor. He’s been transparent with us, shown the world that Christians don’t claim perfectionism. He’s living out the truth in that it doesn’t matter how old, how young, how prestigious, or how poor we are: we need God’s grace everyday.